Khadija Owusu, an award-winning leader, speaker and doctor, was among exceptional young people all over the world who were honoured with the Diana Award for 2021.
The Diana Award is given to young persons who have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities and create long-lasting change on a global scale.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.
Khadija, who was born and raised in London, was honoured with the Award for the initiatives she has led and undertaken to inspire and support young black students all over the world.
“When I was initially informed, I was shocked. I had just found out I passed my final exams, I’m now a doctor and just arrived in Ghana for a well-needed break. However, it was news that I was unable to share for just over a month until it was officially announced. To be honest, I don’t think it has even completely settled in now, but regardless, I am truly grateful to have received this,” Khadija said on how she felt about receiving the Award.
Her passion lies in inspiring thousands of students from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds to achieve their full potential, despite the difficulties they may encounter.
She, however, revealed that her experiences growing up are what propelled her to venture into mentoring and guiding young people to inspire them to attain their dreams.
“Growing up, we always talk of having role models and people we must look up to. A lot of the time, these individuals are celebrities or people of extremely high status whereby our interactions with them are very rare.”
“Whilst it is important to look up to them, I have always believed it is vital to also have role models in closer proximity. This is something I never had, a black female doctor I could look up to whilst I was in school in the UK trying to pursue Medicine. Representation inspires me to do a lot of what I do but also just being able to instil hope in a younger student, for them to consider that actually ‘I can do it too if she can’ is all that matters,” she explained.
Khadija also works with non-profit organisations that focus on bridging the gap between Ghanaians on the continent and those in the diaspora.
“One of the charity initiatives I played a significant role in was organising a charity walk of Pte Hammond, a 95yr old Ghanaian veteran who was inspired by Sir Tom Moore’s walk in the UK. As one of the campaign leads, I and my amazing team managed to raise £43,000 to support the veterans adversely affected by COVID in Ghana as well as the frontline workers,” she revealed.
Like she is doing in the UK, Khadija is also working to engage and inspire young people in Ghana. While in Ghana this year, she launched the ‘Like Her’ Project to inspire young ladies to envision an inspirational woman and to Be, Think, Work ‘Like Her’ whilst being their authentic selves.
“With the help of some amazing friends, we engaged with over 100 girls aged 15-19 discussing all things health relating to female hygiene, empowerment through confidence building, public speaking and positive affirmations. All the young ladies received special gift bags that I donated containing sanitary pads, hand sanitisers, face masks and stationery,” she said.
Khadija is a true definition of an all-round hard-working, inspirational young woman who is breaking glass ceilings whilst making a strong impact and excelling in the medical field.
She has been a guest of Michelle Obama at the White House and has won the Women in STEM Award by HRH Princess Ann. In addition to this, she has spoken at various national and international conferences, and has also been selected as 2020 Rising Star in Healthcare, a ‘Top 150 UK Future Leader’ and has been featured on BBC, ITV and Channel 5 News.
She, however, hopes to continue with the various initiatives she’s undertaking and also make an impact in the healthcare sector in Africa
“I have just graduated from medical school, so will shortly begin practising as a doctor in the UK. I plan to continue and expand my work on the various initiatives I am currently involved in but also explore avenues in healthcare leadership and global health in order to affect change in healthcare across the continent of Africa,” she stated.
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